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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lindsay Sings the Blues @ Gala Theatre, Durham. May 20.

Lindsay Hannon (vcl); Mark Williams (gtr); John Pope (bs); Russ Morgan (dms).
(Review by Steven T/photo courtesy of Brian Ebbatson).
It was number one son suggested I review this - don't you just loathe them - and, since I don't recall reading one for this regular event, though I know they've been done in the past, I figured it's overdue.
It's another event in Durham that's doing just fine thank you very much with, a rough calculation, ninety-five souls in the afternoon sunshine with a glorious view of the train station and Wharton Park.
I knew they'd love this one; they're a predominantly older crowd of not necessarily Jazz buffs who like nothing better than a good singer, some good songs and a good band.
Lindsay is the most soulful of the North East divas, like Billie Holliday before the bad stuff and, despite her claim that she doesn't do jolly, there's a joyful playfulness in her delivery; she does sultry to a tee but can break into something quite beautiful in an instant.
I don't generally get excited by the Doors, Joni Mitchell (Jaco/ Mingus notwithstanding), Mark Knopfler or Paul Simon but it's obviously the artists I don't care for rather than the songs since her versions are all great. Just compare the Beegees screeching on their own song How Can You Mend A Broken Heart with Al Greens sublime interpretation. Moreover, her original song - Maths - stands with any of them.
Highlight of the set, said number one son, following Tom Waits' Romeo is Bleeding. I had to check which album it's from and it's Blue Valentine, two albums before Swordfishtrombones which completely transformed his sound. But, whether he's doing Neil Diamond on (copious amounts of) bourbon or Don Van Vliet on acid, Tom Waits strikes me as a perfect fit for Lindsay.
The band were all first class as you would imagine, Mark taking the lion share of solos, John Pope swinging and getting odd sounds from his bass with only a bow and not a pedal in sight, and Russ Morgan showing he's more than just a drummer but a complete percussion package. But it's Lindsay’s show and of the numerous fine sets I've seen at the Gala, this one was up there.
Steven T

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